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Thursday, 13 February 2020
Page: 981


Senator DUNIAM (TasmaniaAssistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism) (12:29): I move:

That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech es read as follows—

EXPORT CONTROLL BILL 2019

Agriculture, fisheries and forestry exports are an economic powerhouse for Australia and are expected to be worth around $51 billion in 2019-20.

We are one of the top ten agricultural exporting countries in the world, exporting around two thirds of our agricultural production each year.

Strengthening the competitiveness and productivity of Australia's agriculture sector is a key commitment of this Government.

We want our industries to be able to capitalise on the opportunities that flow from growth in our region and globally, and grow Australian agriculture to $100 billion by 2030.

To help us achieve this, we need export legislation that is easier for our exporters and others along the agricultural production chains to understand.

We need legislation that supports the uptake of innovation, particularly new technologies.

And finally, we need legislation that provides options for our exporters to reduce the cost of compliance, such as streamlined processes for exporters to engage non-government people to undertake regulatory activities, where agreed upon by importing countries.

This Bill and its supporting legislation does all of this and more.

It builds on reforms introduced into the 45th Parliament in December 2017 as part of the Export Control Bill 2017, which lapsed on the dissolution of the Parliament.

The Bill meets the needs of those who use the system and is the result of extensive consultation.

Since the Export Control Act 1982 commenced, the legislation governing agricultural exports has grown into a complex web of regulation.

The Export Control Bill 2019 streamlines and consolidates existing export certification legislation. It reduces complexity, duplication and ambiguity, and provides the confidence for existing and potential exporters, to pursue lucrative export opportunities, particularly for those involved with new and emerging industries.

The rules that are being developed to support the Bill will replace the existing orders. They will also be simpler and easier for exporters to understand and comply with.

The Bill recognises alternate regulatory arrangements, and so provides opportunities for Australian exporters to innovate and take up technologies.

The Bill allows the Government to certify a greater range of agricultural goods for export. This demonstrates the importance of trade for Government and our commitment to its growth, by responding to calls for certification of more agricultural goods.

And, of course, it is critical that our trading partners' continue to have confidence in the safety of Australian produce, and continue to be confident that they are receiving what they purchased.

Market access is becoming increasingly complex and challenging as importing country requirements become more sophisticated and we compete with other countries for lucrative overseas markets.

The Bill assists in providing a competitive edge for our exports.

It provides clearer regulation that supports innovation and the export of a broader range of goods, but, at the same time, it ensures that regulatory settings maintain the standards our trading partners expect. The Government has worked hard with importing countries to provide assurances that our level of regulatory oversight remains the same. It will ensure that we can protect the welfare of live animals exported from Australia, especially livestock.

We need to ensure Australia is a reliable source of clean and green agricultural products and ensure the welfare of live animal exports. The Bill protects our valuable export markets by introducing a larger range of monitoring, investigation and enforcement powers, so that greater assurance can be given about compliance. It includes a clearer basis for the performance of verification activities across the supply chain.

The Bill provides for increased criminal penalties and sanctions and will introduce new criminal offences and civil penalties for unacceptable exporter behaviour.

It will therefore act as a strong deterrent for that small minority whose conduct would otherwise undermine the integrity of the system and, in doing so, damage Australia's trading reputation.

The Bill will provide a graduated set of punishments that can be better matched to offences, should exporters choose to disregard their legislative responsibilities.

The Bill includes a range of new enforcement tools including injunctions, enforceable undertakings and infringement notices.

The Bill protects the businesses of our exporters who are committed to doing the right thing and is yet another step in the right direction for Australian agriculture.

It demonstrates the Government's commitment to increased access to high-value premium markets for Australia's agriculture sector.

For Australian farmers, reliable access to overseas markets means increased profitability and certainty for further investment in their properties and people.

For the Australian community, it means stronger regional communities and a more prosperous and productive Australia.

For the Australian economy, it means more jobs, more exports, and higher incomes in a competitive and profitable agricultural sector.

The export legislation reforms are just one of the initiatives that the Government is progressing to modernise the systems that underpin our very valuable agricultural exports, which will be crucial to growing Australian agricultural exports to $100 billion by 2030.

EXPORT CONTROL (CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS) BILL 2019

The Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019 is a companion bill to the Export Control Bill 2019.

It will facilitate the smooth transition from the Export Control Act 1982, the Export Charges (Collection) Act 2015 and Part 2 of the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997 to the new legislative framework.

This Bill will repeal 17 Acts which are redundant, or which will become redundant, with the enactment of the Export Control Bill 2019.

It will deliver a simpler and easy to understand legislative framework.

It will also make minor consequential amendments to seven Commonwealth Acts that refer to the Export Control Act 1982, as well as remove provisions that will be incorporated in the Export Control Bill 2019.

Importantly, this Bill will support a smooth transition from the existing legislation to the new regulatory framework.

The Bill will do this by ensuring that arrangements to manage the export of goods are transitioned appropriately, without disruption to exporters industry or to trade.

For example:

An accredited property or a registered establishment under the existing legislation will transition to be recognised as an accredited property or a registered establishment under the new legislation.

Any outstanding applications made under the existing export law that are not dealt with before the Export Control Bill 2019 commences, will be transitioned in this Bill so that they can be dealt with under the new export legislation framework.

The compliance and enforcement measures in the Export Control Bill 2019 will apply for the purposes of monitoring and investigating compliance with the repealed laws. In addition, the monitoring and compliance powers under the existing legislation will continue to apply in relation to notices and directions given under a repealed law. This will ensure that compliance and enforcement activities can continue to protect the integrity of Australia's exports.

The Bill will also preserve rights (such as the right to seek review of decisions) and liabilities (such as the requirement to pay fees) that exist under the repealed legislation. This will help to ensure there is no impact on the export industry.

EXPORT CHARGES (IMPOSITION—CUSTOMS) AMENDMENT BILL 2019

The Export Charges (Imposition—Customs) Amendment Bill 2019 is the third of three bills which will which will amend the current charging legislation relating to export, as part of the Export Control Bill 2019 package.

This Bill will amend the Export Charges (Imposition—Customs) Act 2015, which deals with charges that are considered a duty of customs within the meaning of section 55 of the Constitution.

This Bill will continue to provide that these charges will be set out in regulations and will reflect the Commonwealth's likely costs in regulating exports.

Together, the three charging Bills will ensure that charges for export activities continue to be supported by legislation and that these charges reflect the Commonwealth's likely costs relating to the administration of Australia's export control system.

EXPORT CHARGES (IMPOSITION—EXCISE) AMENDMENT BILL 2019

The Export Charges (Imposition—Excise) Amendment Bill 2019 is the second of three bills which will which will amend the current charging legislation relating to export, as part of the Export Control Bill 2019 package.

This Bill will amend the Export Charges (Imposition—Excise) Act 2015, which deals with charges that are considered a duty of excise within the meaning of section 55 of the Constitution.

This Bill will continue to provide that these charges will be set out in regulations and will reflect the Commonwealth's likely costs in regulating exports.

Together, the three charging Bills will ensure that charges for export activities continue to be supported by legislation and that these charges reflect the Commonwealth's likely costs relating to the administration of Australia's export control system.

EXPORT CHARGES (IMPOSITION - GENERAL) AMENDMENT BILL 2019

The Export Charges (Imposition - General) Amendment Bill 2019 is the first of three Bills which will amend the current charging legislation relating to export.

These Bills will make amendments to the current charging legislation to reflect the Export Control Bill 2019, and the repeal of the Export Control Act 1982 and the Export Charges (Collection) Act 2015 by the Export Control (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019.

The Export Charges (Imposition-General) Amendment Bill 2019 will amend the Export Charges (Imposition-General) Act 2015, which deals with charges that are not a duty of customs or excise within the meaning of section 55 of the Constitution.

This will allow the Commonwealth to continue to impose charges that appropriately reflect the cost of administering the export control system, both now and into the future.

The Bill does not set the amount of the charges and does not apply any financial impacts on business. This is because the specific charges will be set out in regulations, as they are now,

The Bill continues to provide that, before making these regulations, the Minister for Agriculture must be satisfied that the amount charged will not be more than the likely costs in connection with the export of goods.

This will provide business with confidence that the government will not charge more than is necessary to recover the costs of its export services.

Together, the three charging Bills will ensure that charges for export activities continue to be supported by legislation and that these charges reflect the Commonwealth's likely costs relating to the administration of Australia's export control system.

Debate adjourned.